12 August 2022

Joint use library at Young reaches new heights

| Edwina Mason
Start the conversation

An artist’s impression of the joint-use library and community facility at Young.

A ceremony at the new joint-use library at Young High School has marked another milestone in the controversial development.

It celebrated the completion of the new facility’s highest point, while the official handover of the school’s new canteen, student toilets and staff hub took place last week.

High school principal Anna Barker said the event allowed stakeholders to walk through the newly refurbished buildings, which marked stage one of the jointly funded $25.5 million NSW Government and Hilltops Council project.

The new 2.5-storey school and community facility is located on Young High School grounds and integrated with the town’s Carrington Park, a precinct distinguished by its historical use as a police encampment, gaol and courthouse in Young’s early gold rush days when the town was known as Lambing Flat.

READ ALSO National Library cracks open Trove to publish vintage knitted treasures

Dean Bailey with Young High School principal Anna Barker, Hilltops Council deputy mayor Alison Foreman, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke, Hilltops Council general manager Anthony O'Reilly and Marty Smith from Schools Infrastructure stand in hi-vis vests

Dean Bailey with Young High School principal Anna Barker, Hilltops Council deputy mayor Alison Foreman, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke, Hilltops Council general manager Anthony O’Reilly and Marty Smith from Schools Infrastructure. Photo: Steph Cooke MP.

The joint-use facility development met community opposition when first proposed, with concerns around construction on the heritage-listed site.

So steeped in history this part of town is, faded signage attached to the school’s fence marks it as the site of the only reading of the Riot Act in NSW, after 1000 miners laid siege to the gaol on 14 July, 1861.

Their goal was the release of fellow miners arrested after raiding Chinese encampments, but once the Riot Act was read, shots were exchanged and one miner was killed.

Later that night police and magistrates released the prisoners and fled the town as the courthouse and police camp were burnt to the ground.

Development plans for the new facility went ahead to support the area’s growing educational and community needs.

However the site’s cultural significance influenced the design development, with heritage consultants and heritage studies, including European and Aboriginal, conducted and archaeological salvage works included in the program.

Any objects and materials found will be catalogued and arrangements made for their storage and display in the new facility, which will include learning spaces, video conferencing and multimedia facilities, a children’s activity area, coffee bar, art spaces and a Wiradjuri learning and cultural centre.

Project completion was previously slated for late 2022, with the archaeological works and high rainfall leading to delays.

READ ALSO Controversial construction reveals remnants of a riotous time in Young

While Ms Barker could not commit to a completion date, she said the first tranche of the project has been well received.

“The new major build is still in the construction phase, so we looked at that, but this was an opportunity for people to see the early works which are now complete,” she said.

“The original plan was for this to be completed after the major build but that changed last year as archaeological work got underway. But staff and students have been really positive about it.”

Librarian Elisabeth Myburgh, who has worked at Young High School since 2009, said she was excited at the prospect of a new facility that included reading and study spaces.

“The collaboration with the community has been very positive,” she said.

“Being able to provide shared spaces and experiences for the public and school community means that the entire space will be well used, not just during school hours but outside school hours.”

READ ALSO The future of Wagga library is bigger and more mobile

Internal roller shutter doors will be used to section areas off as needed to provide separation between the public and school students, but can be opened to allow general community access when required after hours.

“It’s incredible because it’s going to accommodate that growing educational need across the community and provide not just Young High School students but the whole of the Young community with contemporary and amazing new resources, facilities and learning spaces,” Ms Barker said.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said she was looking forward to watching the new library take shape in the coming months.

“It is fantastic to celebrate this milestone for a project which will allow the school and local community to share and benefit from wonderful new facilities,” Ms Cooke said.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.